Amid China's efforts to control HK, dejected Hongkongers lose desire to have kids

Hong Kong, June 15 (ANI): With China fast-tracking efforts to strengthen its stronghold over Hong Kong, people in Asia's economic hub say they have lost all hope for a better future and their desire to have children.

Hong Kong already has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. The city's birth rate in 2019 dropped for the first time since 2003 and the trend has continued into the current year, Hong Kong Free Post reported.

With more and more people from mainland China moving to the city and increasingly many Chinese friendly businessmen in big chairs, Hongkongers are fearful that the Chinese will wield influence in "crooks and corners of life" in Hong Kong.

The city is grappled with protests against China since last year. The demonstrations were triggered by extradition law. Now, fresh protests have begun after China's parliament passed the proposal to impose a new national security law in Hong Kong early this month.

The legislation has sparked fears that it would undermine the principle of "one country, two systems," eventually leading to erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy as stated under the Sino-British joint declaration of 1997.

The Sino-British joint declaration on the question of Hong Kong was signed in Beijing on December 19, 1984, by the Prime Ministers of China and Britain, Zhao Ziyang and Margaret Thatcher. The two governments agreed that China would reassume control of Hong Kong from July 1, 1997.

Hong Kong already has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world. "My desire to have kids has definitely fallen below zero. I can't see a way out for Hong Kong, and I don't want my kids to live in a place that has no future," a 29-year-old assistant marketing manager.

Victoria Cheung has lost all hope for a better future. She can't offer her future children life in that version of Hong Kong, she told HKFP.

"Every inch of Hong Kong is losing its distinctive culture and people," she said, worried that she could not pass on the protesters' "lion spirit" to her children:

"You protest, you get arrested, you get beaten up, and you get killed, and still nothing will change -- so what's the point?"

For 32-year-old Billy Wong, the anti-extradition law protests were the tipping point. He knows now that children will not be a part of his future life unless some drastic changes come about in the near future.

"Our freedom and democracy have been quietly deteriorating for more than two decades, and Hong Kong is slowly turning into China," said Wong. "This is one of the main reasons why many, like me, do not want to have kids."

A survey carried out by Youth IDEAS in 2018, a subgroup of Hong Kong's largest youth non-profit, the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, found that two out of ten HongKongers between the ages of 20 and 39 did not wish to have children. (ANI)